Hall of Fame Ballot Review – John Olerud

2010 is the first year on the ballot for 1B John Olerud, who retired after the 2005 season. He spent 17 seasons in the Majors with the Blue Jays, Mets, Mariners, Yankees, and Red Sox, and was one of the few players who made the jump straight from the draft to the Majors back in 1989.

Career Accomplishments
2 All Star Appearances
3 Gold Gloves
1993 AL Batting Champ
2 World Championships (1992, 1993)
.295/.398/.465, 2238 hits
7 seasons with OPS+ of 125 or higher
3 seasons with WAR of 5.0 or higher
4 100-rbi seasons
2 100 run seasons

The Case for Olerud

Olerud was one of the better hitting first basemen of his time, with a beautiful, smooth swing to go with excellent defense at the position. He finished his career with 2238 hits and a .295 career batting average to go with his 3 Gold Gloves.

The Case Against Olerud

Olerud was never considered much of a power hitter, never finishing higher than 24 home runs in a season. While he was generally considered to be a solid player, he was never really grouped with the elite players at his position in his generation.


When I first saw that Olerud’s name was on the ballot this year, I was actually really excited. I always enjoyed watching him play the game, and he always seemed to be very relaxed about his performance. It made me wonder whether or not he should be in the Hall of Fame. Looking at his accomplishments, he clearly had a very good career. He was an excellent hitter and a very good defender as well. Not known for his home run stroke, he did still finish his career with 500 doubles, or an average of 36 per 162 games played.

I think his back story is also a bit interesting, as he was drafted out of college and jumped straight to the Majors without playing a single game in the minors. It wasn’t until his final season with the Red Sox where he finally played in the minors. He played 3 games in the minors in 2005, the only 3 of his career. He was also known for wearing a batting helmet in the field, as he suffered a brain aneurysm during his college career.

While Olerud definitely had a great career, I don’t think I’m seeing enough out of his numbers and his career to warrant a vote for the Hall of Fame.


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